Movie Review: Sonic the Hedgehog (2020)

An action-comedy film based on the Sega video game franchise, Sonic the Hedgehog is directed by Jeff Fowler and stars Ben Schwartz (Parks & Rec) as the voice of the titular character. After escaping his home world, Sonic arrives on Earth, in Green Hills, Montana, where he lives vicariously through the town’s inhabitants, including Tom and Maddie Wachowski (James Marsden and Tika Sumpter, respectively). One night, after accidentally letting his powers loose, Sonic draws the attention of the US Government and is soon hunted by the mad scientist, Dr Robotnik (Jim Carrey).

+ Sonic (Ben Schwartz) and Tom (James Marsden) have some heartwarming chemistry together, especially as I assume Marsden is acting against a stand-in. Schwartz’s voice work is really good, able to convey whatever emotion is needed. Jim Carrey is genuinely unsettling, and funny in a very threatening kind of way, as if he could snap at any moment. I understand that was the point, but he was so effective at it, and I wasn’t expecting to feel that way in a kids movie
+ secondary characters, Sumpter as Tom’s veterinarian wife Maddie is also really well acted (and gorgeous), and she and Marsden also played off each other nicely. I didn’t much care for Rachel (Natasha Rothwell), Maddie’s sister, but I don’t think I was meant to, so I guess that’s a positive. Favourite bit player Neal McDonough also has an appearance, but I don’t think he is even named on screen
+ the film is very funny, with a lot of jokes that will fly over younger fans’ heads. Akin to the early Pixar movies, there is slapstick comedy, childish humour and a few Fortnite dances to keep the kids entertained, but adults will certainly find a few things to chuckle at as well
+ the movie is full of references to memes and the like from the Sonic franchise, including the infamous ‘Sanic’ drawing, and the phrase ‘Gotta go fast’

– I realise this is a movie for kids and/or particularly large fans of the video game series, but this was a very standard plot with very standard story beats. As visually appealing as Sonic’s super-speed is on screen, it is just another version of various DC characters, most notably The Flash from both his eponymous TV show and Justice League and more stylistically similar to X-Men‘s Quicksilver (and I think it was done better than all the rest by the latter)

> There are a lot of nods to most-certain sequels, whether it be characters or details on a map, so keep an eye out for some hidden details

Should you see this film: I really, really liked this. In a world where the majority of the top films of all time are adaptions of comic books, novels or video games, this stands among them as far and away one of the modern best. I am generally not a Jim Carrey fan, but his manic movements, million-mile-an-hour mouth and underlying threatening nature has swayed me a bit.


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